Smoking ban hurting business, restaurant owners say - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Smoking ban hurting business, restaurant owners say

Memphis area restaurant owners, saying Tennessee's newly minted restaurant smoking laws hurt business, are asking lawmakers to outlaw all smoking in restaurants.

Huey's Restaurant is one of many in Memphis that says the new smoking ban is snuffing out business.
 
"He has told me they've seen dramatic cuts in business," Wight Boggs, Executive Director of the Memphis Restaurant Association said Tuesday.

Some restaurants are taking advantage of a loophole that allows smoking in restaurants that only allow people who are 21 and up.

According to Boggs, the loophole puts restaurants who follow the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law, at a disadvantage.

"Many businesses can't choose to serve 21 and older only," Boggs said. "They've got families that come in for dinner, and can't say, 'Sorry, you can't bring your kids in here.'"

Even though businesses that don't allow smoking under the loophole say they know they are loosing customers, some customers we talked with say they actually prefer a smoke free environment.

"I don't want to wake up with in the next morning in my clothes and hair," Huey's customer Jennifer Jaudon said. "It's a nuisance."

Kevin Collier agreed. "I think the restaurants are doing a good job of compromising between the two," he said. "Personally, I'd rather not eat around smoke."

Boggs said the purpose of the smoking ban is to protect the health of employees, which isn't happening if smoking is still allowed under the exception.


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